In the fall of 1878, Randolph McCoy brought charges against Floyd Hatfield for stealing one of his hogs. The resulting trial occurred at a Hatfield cabin and was presided over by the local justice of the peace, Preacher Anderson Hatfield.
Preacher Anderson was Devil Anse Hatfield’s cousin and did not want to appear biased so he gathered a jury of six Hatfields and six McCoys to hear the case. When the jury reached its verdict, Selkirk McCoy, nephew of Sarah McCoy and a veteran of the Virginia Confederacy, sided with the six Hatfields in favor of Floyd. The McCoys felt betrayed and open hostilities soon erupted between the Haftield and McCoy families. Later Bill Staton, who testified in favor of his brother-in-law, Floyd Hatfield, was killed by two of Randolph McCoy’s nephews while he was hunting. They were tried and acquitted in a trial presided over by Valentine Hatfield, uncle of Devil Anse. After this, violence between the families continued and the resulting conflict eventually escalated into the most infamous family feud in American history.
You may have seen it the The History Channel show Hatfields and McCoys with Kevin Costers and Bill Paxton.
Why am I telling you this?
Because Jeremy Pittman (President of Rockpit Brewing) is a direct descendent of Preacher Anse Hatfield. Which basically means Rockpit Brewing is partially owned by a couple of Hatfields.
[Image of treeline]
But fast forward a few generations and you get the story of why we have so many elements related to the mountains and coal mining.
The Hardest Working Man We Knew
Homer Little was simple man. A father to 4 kids (Donnie, Jo, Polly and Sandy), he spend the majority of his kids childhood as a coal miner. From the years 1942 -1959 he worked for the Red Jacket Coal Company (later bought out by Island Creek Coal Company).
He’s also the grandfather to Jeremy Pittman, the president of Rockpit Brewing.
Nearly every day, he labored hard in the dark, damp caves of the West Virginia coal mines to feed his ever growing family. Even though he spent a lot of his time working, he made sure he took the time to spend quality time with his family. This meant regular trips to the creek to fish. This meant trips up the holler to get fresh fruit. This meant hunting for dinner.
It also meant spending time with the other coal miners learning how to make moonshine.
Not the crap you pick up in Gatlinburg, TN. The type of moonshine that only people from West Virginia and Kentucky can love. The type of moonshine that given to an outsider will turn their face green. Is it any wonder why brewing beer came naturally to Jeremy?
After the coal mine shut down in 1959, Homer packed up his wife and 4 kids (including Jeremy’s mom Polly) and headed down to Orlando.
After working for Orkin for several years, he finished up his hard working days working for Disney World.